Looking for Roman Mosaicists: From the Ground Up
Bee Candelaria, senior Classics major, will be presenting a paper based on their research in Italy this summer. She examines the network of mosaicists, which changes from being primarily Greek craftsmen (Kondoleon 2018) in the 2nd century B.C. to mainly Italian craftsmen in the 1st century A.D., as Rome politically shifts from Republic to Empire. Inscriptions attest to a network of artisans involved in marble mining, tesserae (“tiles”) manufacturing, and mosaic designing, constructing, and trading. Earlier mosaics, painting-like works of small, colorful, imported tesserae, reflect the Greek influence coming to Rome after annexing Greece in the 2nd century B.C. Once Augustus took sole commend of Rome, he championed conservative Roman values, seen in an austere aesthetic combining Romanness with Greek art forms. Mosaics beginning in the 1st century A.D. exemplify this aesthetic in geometric patterns of black-and-white, large, local tesserae. A Q&A will follow where Bee can also address questions on the fellowship and research process.